In December 2022 the Town Website Committee had a brilliant idea. We decided we would ask residents to submit photographs that illustrated what made Norfolk special to them.
Well, we received a flood of entries, more than 220, demonstrating that many citizens are acutely aware of the glories of their surroundings. Galleries of the photos can be accessed by clicking here.
The “My Norfolk” Photo Contest filled our coffers with beautiful images and challenged our judges, local photographers Savage Frieze, Katherine Griswold, Christopher Keyes, Christopher Little and Babs Perkins, to select only six—one winner and five runners-up.
The judges did two rounds of selection, unanimously choosing six finalists. These were then painstakingly ranked after an hour of debate.
Long-time resident Elizabeth Hilpman emerged victorious. Her picture of a perfect summer day at Tobey Pond seems to epitomize the essence of Norfolk life.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the email saying I had won,” she said this week. “We had house guests that day and we were taking them around town to show them different sites. It was one of those beautiful perfect afternoons—not too hot, not too cold, not too humid—just one of those opportunities that come along.”
While she takes many pictures, she termed this shot “serendipitous.” She owns a high-quality Nikon digital camera, but that afternoon she had only her iPhone with her, a device she finds herself using more and more.
Sean Iceton, a transplanted Brit, was more deliberate in his pursuit of what became the second-place picture. The craftsman, who creates design-built carpentry and cabinetry, studied design in England. He says his photography is strictly “amateur,” a way to shrug off life’s tensions.
On the day he found the barn and stone wall on Ashpohtag Road, he was indulging in a relaxing walk with his camera. “I was just struck by the light,” he said. “It was kind of overcast so the colors weren’t washed out the way they would have been in bright light. It was just a nice, old barn and I was very taken with the stone wall because I have built stone walls around town.”
Making the image “pop” is a splash of autumn-red vine twining across the top of lichen-grey stone wall. That detail was what initially drew his eye to the scene.
Bill Ticineto, who is also a designer, took his spectacular third-place picture from the top of Beech Hill on a freezing winter morning. He was hiking in Barbour Woods in an area he frequents, when he came upon a scene of sparkling beauty, with traceries of ice forming along the branches of beech saplings.
“I do have a nice digital camera with a great macro lens that I used for my other submission of tulips in the snow. Where but Norfolk do you see tulips growing in the snow? But that morning, all I had was my iPhone. I tend to take it along in case I see something.”
The couple, originally from California, have lived in town for six years now and Ticineto has recently joined the Conservation Commission. “The town is so interesting,” he said. “it is just beautiful, and it has a lot of art, music, writing. We feel so at home here.”
Chef Tom Daly also finds relaxation in his amateur photography and is sometimes intentional in seeking images, such as the one he took for his fourth-place submission. “I don’t usually carry my camera around with me, but I knew it was going to be a full moon, so I had driven around a little bit looking for a shot.”
What he found on that early-spring evening was a peaceful composition of a gnarled old tree, silhouetted in a graceful sweep against the twilight and a rising moon. The scene was shot near Husky Meadows Farm. “I had been up there before,” Daly said. “I actually took it out of my car window.”
Daly termed himself “a lifetime Norfolk resident,” but put a fine point to it by recognizing that he is not a native. “I didn’t get here until I was three,” he said wryly.
Taking fifth place was Daniel Girolamo, who took a panoramic image of Wood Creek at sunset on an autumn evening. This image, too, was taken with a phone.
“I just do it as a hobby,” he said, “although people tell me I have a good eye.”
Currently a custodiam, he has lived in Norfolk two-and-a-half years, drawn here by the town’s affordable housing. “I have a great apartment and the people here are wonderful. And there are a lot of cultural events.”
Daniel Wuri, a medical technician, is, again, a hobbyist but shares his photos with friends through postings on his Facebook page. He, too, resorted to his phone to take his pastoral picture of a snow-covered field on Mountain Road one crisp evening. “I took this picture with an iPhone 10,” he said, adding that he has just upgraded to an iPhone 14 Plus. “There is quite a bit of difference in the quality of pictures you get,” he reported.
Thrilled with the success of its first photo contest, the Town Website Committee is contemplating future competitions. It offered special thanks to the judges and to all who submitted photos.
Editor’s note: Another article by Kathryn Boughton on the photo contest appears on Berkshire Style; click here to read it.